The ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet, was originally designed to treat epileptic patients in the 1920s and has been used to prevent seizures ever since. Recently, though, it’s become more popular as a weight-loss tool, but what are the pros and cons of this increasingly trendy diet? Let’s take a look at both sides of the debate so you can decide if keto is right for you.

The Benefits of Fasting

Intermittent fasting—spending time without food to help you lose weight—can be beneficial if done properly. It can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity and more. But like any diet plan, there are risks and benefits involved. As with any change in your health or diet, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an intermittent fasting regimen. They may help ensure it’s right for you!

What it Means to Fast-Definition

The two most common types of intermittent fasting are 16:8 (or time-restricted feeding) and a 24-hour fast. During 16:8, you eat during an eight-hour window and avoid food for the remaining 16 hours. A 24-hour fast is usually defined as eating dinner one night, and then not eating until dinner time on the next day. Both of these methods increase overall fat burning throughout their durations.

Intermittent Fasting vs. Caloric Restriction

There’s a debate about whether it’s better to alternate between periods of fasting and eating or just consistently restrict your calorie intake. What’s known as intermittent fasting, is a style of dieting that cycles between brief periods of low-calorie intake and longer eating intervals. Some people use intermittent fasting in conjunction with keto because they find it easier to follow.

The Drawbacks of Fasting

Intermittent fasting isn’t safe for everyone. Individuals with type 1 diabetes or those who use insulin to manage their blood sugar levels should not attempt it, as ketones can prevent your body from using insulin correctly. If you have any of these conditions, check with your doctor before giving intermittent fasting a shot. If you’re healthy and have been living a generally healthy lifestyle, there is nothing to worry about.

How Intermittent Fasting Works

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting. In practice, you eat a strict diet during these fasting periods and consume typical amounts of food during your non-fasting periods. Several different intermittent fasting protocols can help you lose weight, which we’ll discuss later on in this post.

What Can an Intermittent Fasting Schedule Look Like?

Most intermittent fasting schedules recommend that you fast during a specific window of time each day. For example, you might only eat between 12 pm and 6 pm each day, giving you a 6-hour feeding window when you eat all of your calories for the day. The 5:2 diet, also known as the Fast Diet, involves eating whatever you want five days out of the week and restricting your calories to just 500 to 600 on two nonconsecutive days of the week.

Effects on Health

Ketogenic diets have shown promise in improving markers of metabolic health, including insulin resistance. Experts recommend these low-carb, high-fat diets as a means to reverse type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity. The keto diet may also improve cardiovascular risk factors and decrease inflammation. There is some evidence that keto may be effective at managing seizures in children with epilepsy. (1) Unfortunately, there are also potential risks associated with a ketogenic diet.

Other Health Concerns

Limiting your carbs, intermittent fasting, and eating healthy fats all play a role in maintaining a healthy weight. But there are some common health concerns with these diets that you should be aware of. For example, ketoacidosis is a dangerous condition that occurs when your body doesn’t have enough insulin in its blood and it switches to burning fat for energy instead. That said, long-term studies on humans show that low-carb diets help reduce weight and improve heart health.

When NOT To Fast

Before you get started on your keto diet, be sure to speak with your doctor. Some people should not do intermittent fastings, such as people with diabetes and pregnant women. If you’re going to try out intermittent fasting, it’s a good idea to first consult your doctor or primary care provider.

Other Considerations When Starting Intermittent Fasting

During your first week of intermittent fasting, you might experience some physical withdrawal symptoms as your body adapts to new eating patterns. There’s also a chance that you could trigger ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous metabolic state marked by very high blood sugar levels and acidity in the blood. As noted in an earlier section, ketoacidosis occurs when insulin is absent or deficient.

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